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Actually, it's two separate questions, but it concerns the NAVSEA building of the future force. And the question is, the first part is, do you foresee the Iron Dome SAM system being put on frigates, Zumwalt class, LCS’, LAW’s, amphibs now that the Marines have the Iron Dome in their inventory?
That's a question I don't feel like I can really answer. I'm not sure about that. I don't want it to go unanswered. So I don't know. Roy, do you want to take that on? It’s something that just quite frankly, I just can't answer. So that's rare in my big mouth.
Okay, maybe I shouldn't give you the second part that from the other person.
Could you please comment on smart guided programmable rounds, such as dark 76 millimeter Alamo and laser guided rockets for surface ships, will smart guide and extended range rounds be brought and work their way into naval gunfire and warships?
I mean, again, conceptually, who doesn't want smart rounds? So I would say that all those types of questions that kind of fall into that are all things that we do, of course, through experimentation, demonstration, business case analysis We weigh the pros and cons as we bring those type of new technologies and lethality packages to bear. So whether or not there's a decision to put those on is really something I can't address. But in concept, yes, of course, I want something that can do all the things you just read off.
The second question, regarding yesterday, Admiral Cooper was talking about AI and unmanned systems. And in my view, Fifth Fleet has become a testbed for these processes. We'd like to get your perspective and how do you see it being employed within the entire portfolio of the Navy?
Yeah, okay. Yeah, that's a good question. I just, I just had the opportunity to spend a week at MIT up there with an Air Force sponsor course, and some of the room may have gone to it as well. It's a senior level AI and machine learning (ML) course and it's not lost on anyone and I think across the Navy and across the department of defense, that artificial intelligence and machine learning is, and this is a little arguable, but it will probably transform itself, then what we call a general purpose technology –GPT. There's been some number, and this is again an article thing, like 24 of these in the history of man, like language is a GPT, steam engine, electricity. And so AI ML has the potential to do that. And these things, they transform the way we do things that are at a global scale. And that's what makes it kind of a definition of GPT-general purpose technology. Do I believe that AI ML is one of those, I tend to, I do think that. So we owe it to the Navy and to the defense of our country to embrace artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and machine learning algorithms, and embrace that in a way that we bring that to bear in systems where it will actually apply and work. So there's a couple of concerns here, when sometimes I get the notion that when I don't want to spend money on something, and I don't want to do something really hard where it requires a physical thing. Then what we'll try to do is say that sounds like that would be great for AI ML. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. There is a process to determine something that actually artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning fits well. There are places where that really does work very well. In the undersea, we are seeing that manifests itself in areas where your data rich and analyst poor, so that you can go through vast amounts of data out there, wider search capabilities, and actually help the operator make decisions. In the surface, I think that notion is extended in maritime awareness. So in maritime awareness, capabilities, ISR layers, if you will- surface all the way up- where you're getting a lot of information, and not necessarily all the people to actually go and process, that I certainly think AI ML has a place. I think Brad Cooper and Fifth Fleet is doing some great work there. The other place, I see where that would do very well, just right off the cuff is in South America. South America struggles with a lot of encroachment in their EEZ zones. They have small navies and I think some of those technologies that we are testing out in Task Force 59 and Fifth Fleet could report directly to Fourth Fleet and help some of these smaller navies give them more maritime domain awareness and give them the ability to then go deploy their small force in prosecution mode versus search mode. So instantiations like that, I think it is incredibly important. Mine warfare, I think is a place where it would work very well. Again, I need to search large bodies of water, I have a way to distinguish between mine and unmined waters through big data and big data analytics. I think that's a place. So I'm all for it. They can't substitute for what I just gave a pretty lengthy talk about, is the actual combatants being in the arena and doing the hard thing. But there are places where it definitely is a force multiplier and we can enable some of those technologies to do some of the work that we just can't do at scale today.
So the next question concerns the public shipyards, it says, given the backlog and capacity challenges for public shipyards is there a building argument for opening a fifth?
Yes, of course. I mean, I need 6. I mean, I need enough capacity in our shipyards to drive down the backlog to zero. You know, we get a lot of talk up here and you just heard it again, from the two Congressmen, who I'm good friends with and think the world of, talk about shipbuilding accounts, shipbuilding accounts. I can today, if I had the backlog chipped down, have a more effective larger fleet today. So, you know, again, I've got a pretty good size Navy, too much of it's being held in abeyance in our yards. And so whatever the solution set is, we've got to knock down thinking that I've got to just do this with a limited set of options for public yards. You know, when I came in the Navy, I think I want to say, I will know if I get this number, right? We have like eight, had like eight yards. Okay, there's Mare Island at Charleston and other places doing work. This is all nuclear ship, nuclear yards. And we made the decision to go to four when we did that we went to the bone there. We went to the place where that was exactly optimized to do exactly what was needed as if we were never going to have a problem, take any battle damage, do emergent repairs, and things like sequestration come along, and things like COVID come along. So it has no room to have any ability to expand to compensate when I have something that derails us a bit. So you know, that's a problem. And because of that, you get this compounding effect, and we just continue to stack ships up and not get them back into the fight. So again, yes, we need to be thinking about what we do to increase our capability. Now one of the ways we're doing that is getting help from the private Yards. Okay, I now we've got availabilities going on with HII. And we've got availabilities going on at electric boat and General dynamics. So I think those partnerships are essential as well, to help me get chip away at this backlog. Like anything, private organizations like in this room, have to have something presented to them, that the risk model financially for their company and shareholders make sense that they invest in the workforce, the space, the capitalization, tooling, and all the training necessary to do ship maintenance, or they're just not going to be able to do it. So if I'm going to partner with them, we got to come in and partner with them. So I think everything has to be on the table here. I really do.
Very good. This question was brought up with the Congressman before, and it concerns the Ukraine, your perspective on it, and how we're going to be able to balance our readiness versus the demand signal that's coming in from the Ukraine and the issues we've had with the supply chain in the past, whether it be from COVID or from the stress being put on it now. Now as a result of our push forward.
Well, I thought the answers that were given by Congressmen Wittman and Courtney were good. I would agree with everything they said, I guess where I would depart a little bit is I'm not as forgiving of the defense industrial base. I'm just not. Okay. So look at me, I am not forgiving the fact you're not delivering the ordnance we need. Okay? I'm just not. All this stuff about COVID this, parts, you know, supply chain this, so I just don't really care. I just don't really care. I mean, we all got a tough job. I need SM-6’s delivered on time. I need more Mark 48 torpedoes delivered on time. Okay, we're talking about warfighting, national security, and going against a competitor here and a potential adversary that is like nothing we've ever seen. And we can't dilly dallying around with these deliveries. Okay, this is big money, big accounts. I don't see good accountability, and I don't see good return on investment from the government side. I really don't. And so, you know, if you want to take me in a room and show me you know, your sob story, I'll be happy to hear it. But at the end of the day I want the magazines filled. Okay, I want the ships tubes filled. I don't want to have to bring a Strike Group back so I can rob Peter to pay Paul so the next one can go. And then when I want to help a country out like Ukraine, I'm not sitting talking about, you know what it’s doing to me, I'm talking about, of course, we're going to help a country deliver the stuff we need, so they can win that conflict against Russia and
it's not going to destroy and put me back into the dark ages. So this is all tied about delivery and performance. I could have given the whole pitch I gave with the shipyard and put that right over on the ordnance, its completely unsatisfying from the Fleet Commander. It’s just not hitting the mark. And so again, I’m willing to partner. If there's something we need to do better, I'm happy, I got my team looking at contracting strategies so I get some more transparency, a little more accountability, a little bit more of a way to get insight and some of the things that Congressman Wittman was talking about. So if there's a thing you need being built by another country, and I can't get the thing, I need to have transparency on that. I told Jim Kilby, sitting beside him when he said that, give me the top five, what are they, you know, off the cuff? You know, I can't get whatever, let me know what it is. So I just think, we're not just on pace with this. So I'm very frustrated as you can tell by what I've said, because it's so essential to winning. And in my position, and for the people in the room in uniform that's all that matters. And I can't do that without the ordnance. And it's just, that's what we do. That's how we actually win. Okay, there's no talking point other than that,
Very good. So the question concerns, training, and then it goes about how can we incorporate more training with NATO and coalition partners, before we put forces downrange? And how do you see that playing out over the century?
That's a super question I'm actually very proud of what we're doing in that area. I mean, so let me just back up a little bit. One of the things we did right out the gate was in the creation of U.S. Second Fleet, is made him a Joint Force Command Headquarters, JFC Norfolk. So inherently, a person who works for me is also commander that works directly for General Cavoli, European Commander and SACEUR. And so that gives a connection that right here in Norfolk, I've got a commander in a command structure that is part of NATO. So it's not like working with NATO, we are NATO. Sometimes we talk about the United States and we work with NATO, you know, we've got to remember we're in NATO. So we're working with ourselves. And so that's structurally a very strong lash up. And so when you got like an Adm. Munsch, JFC Naples, and Sixth Fleet with Tom Ishee. There, we cannot have a more symbiotic state of play right now. And some may have read some articles that have come out recently about the One Atlantic concept. And what that is, is a way that we're working to flow seamlessly, forces across that UCP line, your unified command plan line, it sits right in the middle of the Atlantic, between Second Fleet and Sixth Fleet between NORTHCOM and EUCOM. And just take that line out of play, that is unprecedented work that we do in that area. And so we just did that with the Gerald R. Ford’s first deployment, where we chopped that over from my authority to Stewart Munsch, where he did a 12 nation, major exercise in the European theater and tactical command, and we've done it with several submarines, or we just flow that right across that line and just change commander. So that's all going well. The last thing I will say is we have a very healthy demand signal from our NATO partners to be involved in our strike groups. And so they want to work up with us, they actually bring the ships over, they matriculate through the strike group process, and then deploy in standard command of our strike groups. And I think that's very healthy as well. So I think we're in a good place for the NATO partnership.
So Admiral Kitchener mentioned yesterday the North Star being the 75 surface combatants mission capable out there. And the question basically is I would like to get your perspective on how you think that's going, how you seen working?
Yes, anytime you throw a number out, you take a risk Roy. Okay.
So you know, there's an education campaign, it's got to underwrite what Adm. Kitchener is talking about. And so what he's doing is is groundbreaking here. Okay? And everybody in the room has got to really support this initiative and have an understanding of it. And that includes the press. That includes our defense industrial base, congressional partners and everything else. And what I'm talking about here is when he's talking about 75 ships, that he can quickly deliver, and short a few small things, and get it to the point of need. That's what we're talking about. To do that doesn't mean that I require like 76 ships in my fleet. You know, to make the 75. So lets make sure we're very clear on the definitions of what he's talking about mission capable. Okay? I've worked with him a lot on this initiative in our in our performance to plan he's on target on it. It's a good number. It's a number that makes a good Northstar. And at the end of the day, we have confidence for the first time that there's a number of ships that are being tracked, and it's such an exquisite level, that it's not some DRRS report where you don't know what's going on with that. This is actual knowledge of the ships capability, where it stands in ordinance, people, readiness and the ability to get underway from a training and certification perspective, to get to the point of need to actually conduct high-end warfare in combat. I am 100% behind it, I think it's a great number. I couldn't be more proud of Surface Navy for finally developing something that has real teeth in a way we're tracking what you can actually respond when you need to, to the needs in our forward commands so I applaud that effort.
Right. Unfortunately, We have just run out of time. But I'd like to give you some closing time for some closing remarks.
Well, first, hopefully, my team took a note on that first question that like stiffened me. Whoever asked that will get you an answer to it. Okay, so don't leave that closed out.
The second I find I get this invite a few months out before the event, I'm always a yes right away because I cannot be more proud to sit and talk to you folks. I spent a little more time today at the podium because I want you to really hear from the Fleet commander, about where my head is, where I think the problems are, how much I applaud the Surface Navy, how much we need a surface Navy. There's articles out there that just I just can't believe some of the things I read some time just how uninformed these things are about what can be brought to bear with our Surface Navy. Okay? You ask any numbered fleet commander, and they are the experts in employing this force about what they do every single day, at the tip of the spear with their surface force. It is the most incredible force there is, nothing can do the multi-mission things even close and demonstrate that capability to our adversaries. So it's indispensable. And if you hear anything, I'm talking about the way I want to actually make them even more capable, more forward, get them in the game even more, from offense, to how they go through their OFRP it's all because how much I appreciate what you do. So again, thanks for letting me come and speak and I appreciate it. I look forward to being here next year.